Koan: The Sieve
This koan was recently used at our winter retreat. We will sit with it and dicussion 2/4/15. Feel free to comment here:
A group of people had a meditation salon and used to meet and discuss koans. Then they invited a meditation teacher to come and instruct them. He told them that they could have a regular meditation practice, develop a feeling of tender and appreciation for everything alive, and not be so caught up in their reactions to things. He explained meditation in this way: “Realize the single light that runs through all things. Realize this wherever you are and whatever you are doing so meditation becomes seamless. It’s not hard. Fill a sieve with water.” Then he left.
The people in the group meditated with these instructions and the image of the sieve filling with water. Their lives changed and they were happier and less troubled by their thoughts. Gradually they lost interest in the sieve. But there was one woman who was so deeply touched by the image that it wouldn’t leave her. Her whole being felt charged and alive. She was aware of an intensity in her mind, as if something were trying to be born.
She traveled to see the teacher and told him that she wanted to know about the sieve. She stayed overnight and in the they went for a walk. They passed through the kitchen on the way and picked up a sieve. They went down to the beach, it was a calm morning, the small waves ran up on the sand and ran back. He handed her the sieve and she knelt down and scooped water in with her hand. The bottom of the sieve glistened, but she couldn’t understand.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
He took the sieve and threw it out into the sea. At that moment her heart opened.
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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